5 ideas for embracing Advent
Posted: 30 November 2016
Translated from the Latin meaning ‘coming’, Advent is the period in the lead-up to Christmas where Christians reflect on and look towards the coming of Christ. Here are some simple ways to connect with the true meaning of Christmas and to enjoy this season in light of Christ.
1. Christmas Cheer
Gather people together for a Christmas meal or drinks. Build community amongst our church and invite people who are still getting connected. Why not gather colleagues or family to a meal on Christmas Eve and invite them to join you at one of our services afterwards? Many non-Christians are still interested in festive traditions over Christmas and they’d get to hear the message of Jesus too!
2. Embrace Rest
This time of year is notoriously busy, consumerist and just plain full. For Advent, why not choose a time of day to fast from your phone or TV and devote time to stillness and prayer – even 10 minutes. In transit, over your coffee break, before bed; the times when you crave downtime anyway. I’m looking forward to starting this in the mornings (I live with a particularly early riser).
3. Advent Calendar
Lose the cheap chocolate and countdown to Christmas with verses or reflections on Christ.
Or get yo’ craft on and head to Pinterest for a stash of ideas that include a Bible verse or reflection for each day (and maybe a quality chocolate or other treat too). Liz Neal has been doing creative advent calendars with her kids involving activities, objects and other ways of connecting them to the Christmas message. Have a chat to her for more creative ideas.
Sick of talking and not doing? Be a little more like Jesus: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28) Look for opportunities to meet the needs of others and give generously:
- Turn up to church early to sit beside and welcome newcomers or those who are still settling in
- Notice when people seem busy and rundown and cook them a meal
- Help Lex and the team with the Christmas party or with Christmas Eve services
- Bake extra treats so that the morning tea or supper table is generous and abundant over Christmas
- Volunteer on Christmas Day with Bread of Life or another charity, sponsor a child
- Invite expats to your Christmas meal.
5. Christmas Reading
Treasuring God in our Traditions – Noël Piper 2003
This short read offers practical tips and biblical motivation for establishing traditions that cultivate God-centered living. It is particularly helpful for parents in establishing traditions that lead their children toward love for God. Similarly great for community groups, share houses and other intentional communities that love God. There are plenty of creative ideas for Christmas, Easter, Birthdays and other day-to-day opportunities to acknowledge God.
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Nancy Guthrie
22 short but meaty readings for meditation and deep reflection on various aspects of the Christmas story. Like a collection of short stories, material has been sourced from the writings and sermons of some of the greats – Saint Augustine, Luther, Shaeffer, Ryle, Keller, Packer etc. For the Christian wanting to engage with the scriptures and move beyond light inspirational devotionals; perfect Christmas reading.
The Book of Matthew
The Bible, tried and tested, the very word of God – you can’t go wrong. Matthew takes you through the birth of Jesus, his life, ministry, death and resurrection.
You could use an online reading guide or just work through chapter by chapter each day starting on December 1st.